In the third year of Osee, son of Ela, king Achaz of Juda was succeeded by his son Ezechias. This king was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne, and his reign at Jerusalem lasted twenty-nine years. Here was one that obeyed the Lord’s will no less than his father David before him; scattered the hill-shrines, overthrew the images, cut down the sacred trees; broke in pieces, too, the brazen serpent Moses had made, because the Israelites, till his day, used to offer incense to it; the name given to it was Nohestan.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 18:1-4, Knox translation.
They destroyed the brazen snake?? They called it Nohestan (or Nehushtan)?? This is my third time reading through the Bible and I don’t recall ever noticing this before.
After this the Assyrian king, who was still at Lachis, sent Tharthan, Rabsaris and Rabsaces at the head of a strong force to Jerusalem, where king Ezechias was. . . . Rabsaces bade them tell Ezechias, Here is a message to thee from the great king, the king of Assyria. What confidence is this that makes thee so bold? Doubtless thou hast some design, in so committing thyself to the fortune of war. On whose help dost thou rely, that thou wouldst throw off my allegiance? … [W]ilt thou answer, We trust, I and my people, in the Lord our God? Tell me, who is he? Is he not the God whose hill-shrines and altars Ezechias has cleared away, bidding Juda and Jerusalem worship at one altar here?
4 Kings (2 Kings) 18:17-22, Knox translation.
Note that Rabsaces gets it wrong: God isn’t the God whose hill-shrines and altars Ezechias has cleared away. The hill-shrines and altars are of the native gods, to whom the Israelites had been disobediently offering sacrifices.
I realize the books of the Old Testament weren’t meant to be accurate historical documents in the modern, scholarly sense. Still, the OT often has little details like this which make it ring true to me. A foreign king comes to Jerusalem to threaten it, and in the course of waging psychological warfare on its citizens (he made this speech in public, in their native language), tries to criticize their reliance on God, and gets it slightly wrong. Almost exactly like a modern journalist reporting on something to do with Christianity.